10.20.2011

Day 20 - Clutter Free Guest Room

Welcome back for Day 20 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Home series. I have struggled with today's post. That's why it's a few hours late. Mainly because a Guest Room in and of itself shouldn't really have clutter. It's a guest room. The people come stay for a few days then pack their bags and leave.

But the problem is just that. We only use our guest rooms a handful of days a year and for those of us with smaller homes, especially, it is hard to justify using the room solely for our guests when they are only there for a week out of the year. So the other 51 weeks of the year we tend to store anything and everything else in these rooms. They become a catch all. And then when a family member calls and announces their impending arrival, we jump into "freak out" mode and begin jamming all our stuff into the closet, praying they won't try to open it and hang up a shirt or dress while they're visiting cuz they might just suffer life-altering physical injuries as all our random junk spews out onto them. And they may end up spending their vacation in a hospital bed rather than the guest bed...hhh....

So, today I'm going to just touch on a few ideas to make the guest room in a smallish home multi-function without sacrificing the comfort of our guests. It is important to make the room as clutter free as possible to ensure you provide a relaxing, peaceful place for your guests to rest.

1. If your room is small, consider providing a futon or sleep sofa rather than a bed so you can use more of the room when guests aren't visiting. John & Sherry on YoungHouseLove also did this in their former home. Read about it here. Just make sure it's not terribly uncomfortable. We all know it's hard enough to sleep at someone else's home...the last thing we need is that infamous bar from the sleep sofa stabbing us in the back all night long. Dave & I purchased a 4" thick couple self-inflating sleeping mats from the camping section of Gander Mountain to supplement our sleep sofa mattress. It makes it just as comfortable as our regular mattress in our bedroom.


2. Maximize closet space. If you want to use the room for crafts or storage or an office space, maximize the closet space. Use a shelving system like we used in the photos below (purchased from Lowe's for about $55, very easy to assemble) to organize things out of the way such as games and crafts, or office supplies. We still have a little space to one side for hanging clothes. Or you could add an over-the-door hook system so your guests could hang their clothes on the door (inside or outside the closet). And be sure to provide 6 or 8 hangers.

When we used this room as an office before Levi was born, we stored crafts and office supplies in the closet.


Now we use this closet to store all our DIY remodeling supplies and tools.
 



3. Use furniture pieces that "work hard" and conceal messes. If you want your guest room to double as a home office, you could easily set up an office in an armoire then shut the doors when the guests come over. That would make the room feel a lot more welcoming than a cluttered desktop stacked with paperwork.



Or you could use a dresser for office supply storage normally or even a table that can be used as a work surface normally but then these pieces could serve as a spot for the suitcase when guests arrive.


4. Use storage ottomans. As usual, I can't say enough about them. You could store office supplies in there, file paperwork, stash away toys if the guest room doubles as a play area for your kids, bedding for your guests, anything really! And if large enough, they can double as a seat or place to set a suitcase.


 
5. Make it cozy. Burn candles, offer nice, soft lighting, dress the bed in beautiful bedding. Offer a choice of pillows. Pretend for a moment you run a B&B or hotel and focus on making your guests comfortable.
 
6. Bath towels. Make sure your guests know where the towels are. And provide shampoo and soap and other standard toiletries for them in the bathroom should they forget theirs. You may also let them know where your hair dryer and iron/ironing board are.
 
7. Clear off flat surfaces. Don't use the guest room as a display area for trinkets. It's ok to have a few out, but guests feel must more welcome if there's a place where they can set out their toiletries and watch, wallet, etc.
 
8. Provide an alarm clock, a reading lamp, tissues, waste basket and a night light. These are simple things but can make a guests' stay much more pleasant.
 
9. Privacy. Make sure that the door closes easily and locks so they don't have to worry about your children or pets barging in on them, and provide proper window coverings.
 
Check back tomorrow as we tackle living room/ family room clutter!

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